3 foods you can easily slot into your diet for near-magical health results
Make a few small lifestyle changes and bippity-boppity-boo – you can reap serious rewards. Sceptical? Let us change your mind…
FOR A FASTER METABOLISM
We know of a fair few ways to boost your metabolism – do high-intensity workouts, drink more cold water, eat plenty of protein, lift weights – but few are as easy as this little nugget of information: simply add a little ginger to your meals.
That’s right, it’s as easy as that. A 2018 review of studies evaluated ginger’s effects on weight loss and metabolic profiles in people who were overweight. It found that the spice may help to reduce body weight and fasting glucose levels, while increasing high-density lipoprotein (HDL) or, in other words, ‘good’ cholesterol.
So sprinkling a little ginger over your porridge in the morning could increase your body temperature and metabolic rate, meaning you’ll find it easier to control your appetite and keep it as healthy as possible.
FOR CLEARER SKIN
For hundreds of years, turmeric has been associated with healing properties and cosmetic benefits all around the world. The bright, yellow-orange spice is related to ginger and is available as a ground spice, a supplement, in teas and now in some beauty and dermatology products. There must be something to such a reputation, right?
There is. Turmeric gets its health benefits mainly from a bioactive component it contains called curcumin. Curcumin has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties which, among other things, will help provide an added natural glow and lustre to skin.
HLN’s top tip: Use it in a face mask. Mix small amounts of Greek yoghurt, honey, and turmeric together and apply to your face. Keep the mask on for 15 minutes and then wash off with water. Then sit back and see you shine.
The anti-inflammatory qualities in turmeric can also target pores, calm skin and reduce scarring – meaning it’s a valuable go-to during acne breakouts. This is partly down to the fact that turmeric, as if by magic, can actually heal wounds. The curcumin decreases inflammation and oxidation, lowering the body’s response to skin wounds while positively affecting tissue and collagen.
The National Psoriasis Foundation has also found that using turmeric as a supplement or adding it to food may help your psoriasis by controlling flares and other symptoms. In fact, although there are not yet enough studies to provide conclusive evidence, turmeric’s positive effects on a whole range of dermatological conditions – such as eczema, alopecia and lichen planus – are currently being researched.
HLN’s top tip: Mix ground turmeric with warm water to balance your skin’s natural flora and protect your skin cells against free radicals, (while also improving your immune system and support proper brain function, we may add). It’s our favourite new addition to our diets.
FOR SHINIER HAIR
Look, we all want to be Becky with the good hair (without the whole invoking Beyonce’s wrath thing), but it’s easier said than done, am I right? Turns out, I’m actually wrong.
Our hair grows at around half an inch every month, so about 6 inches in a year. How fast it grows depends on things like age, health, genetics and diet – three of which we have no control over. But a targeted diet, that we can do. Not consuming enough of the right nutrients can actually lead to hair loss, while eating a balanced diet with all the right good stuff can promote hair growth, strength and overall lustre.
Where to start? Well, with one word: protein. Our hair is literally made of protein, so it makes sense that making sure we’re eating enough will be crucial to maintaining our hair’s health. Low-protein diets are likely to make hair dry, brittle and weak and, in extreme cases, may actually result in restricted hair growth.
On the flip side, eating a protein-rich diet (we’re looking at you, chicken, turkey, fish and legumes) will see you reap the rewards with stronger, shinier and longer locks. And there are few better foods to incorporate into your diet than eggs. Why, we hear you ask? Eggs are a great source of both protein and biotin, both essential nutrients to promote hair growth. Better yet, eggs are also stacked full of zinc and selenium, which are two nutrients essential for scalp protection. So if you’re planning on introducing just one new ingredient into your weekly recipes to show your hair some love, make it eggs. You can thank us later.
HLN’s top tip: As well as eating more eggs, make your own hair mask for a deep, nourishing treatment every two weeks. Whisk an egg yolk and mix with half a mashed avocado and a spoonful of honey. Massage onto damp, clean hair and leave for 30 minutes, before rinsing thoroughly.
In the immortal words of the Spice Girls: ‘too much of something is bad enough’. What’s most important to your overall health is a balanced diet, so don’t overdo any of the above recommendations. It could just set you back.
If you take other medications, discuss the use of turmeric with your doctor.
When applied to the skin, turmeric can temporarily stain the skin or leave a yellow residue. This is normal. But if you’re allergic, direct skin contact can cause irritation, redness, and swelling. So test turmeric on your forearm first, applying a 5p-sized amount and waiting between 24–48 hours to see if you react before using on your face. Do not use turmeric on your skin if you’re allergic to the spice in food.